Regular Healthy Competition

January 05, 2014

Tom T.

Answer These Questions First

Everyone has an opinion about New Year's Resolutions including yours truly. In my perusing of the world wide web this week I found an excellent post on the topic at Mark's Daily Apple titled 11 Questions to Ask Yourself at the Start of a New Year. As you can probably tell from the title there are a series of questions (11 to be precise) that help you craft your goals for the year. I encourage you to read this post on your own as an explanation of each question is included. Even though I had spent a fair amount of time evaluating my past year's performance and carefully selected my resolutions for the new year, I took the time to go through this exercise. While my answers were not Earth-shattering, the questions made me take pause and think. Enough talk, here are the questions and my answers.

1. What were you biggest failings or mistakes this past year - healthwise - that were preventable or avoidable?

a. My Diet.

It is not like I eat poorly, but I didn't pay attention to what I was eating or how much I was eating. The 'what I was eating' is important to me. Realizing that food is fuel and can affect performance is basic, but a big realization for me.

b. Running.

Previously I was making good gains with my running. I remember just a few years ago running on my treadmill at 8.0 mph for over 20 minutes. Now I am happy when I keep it above 7.0. It is all about consistently running, which was and has been my downfall over the past 2+ years. Running on the Treadmill

2. What were your biggest health problems that were not preventable or avoidable - and how did you respond?

Knock on wood, other than a few strained muscles I didn't have any notable health problems last year. I will take that back, cold/flu/sickness. It seems that here in the Midwest they are unavoidable. Thus, I dealt with sickness with rest and medication. I also tried not to let it linger any longer than necessary by making my diet healthier when sick.

3. Which food consistently has the worst effect on you? How does it make you feel (or look, or perform)?

The unfortunate thing about this answer is that I don't know. Failing to notice when certain foods make me feel bad or affect my performance is my downfall. Recently I have identified that I need to start paying attention to this. At this point the only thing that I have noticed is that overeating negatively affects me as well as drinking too much beer. One or two beers don't seem to do it but any more than that and I pay for it. I don't mean with a hangover (although that is a bad side effect too), but with being lethargic, tired and gassy (yeah my wife loves that one).

4. What concrete step or steps will you take to fulfill a more abstract resolution?

WHEELHOUSE! Check out my post on my New Year's Resolution. Here is the short version. I want to be a better runner this year. Starting in January my goal for the month is to run 2 times per week for at least 3 miles each time. I will track and re-evaluate at the end of the month.

5. Why are you where you are?

This answer is relative to two points in the not so distant past. Where I am is a good place compared with 5 to 6 years ago. Where I am is a slightly worse place compared to 2 to 3 years ago. So, judge the relative comparison as you will. I credit my 'wake up call' to my wife. I was over 250 lbs. just about 6 years ago. She helped me see that I was overweight and needed to change how I ate and exercised (or didn't exercise at the time). I take full responsibility for my ever so slight decline over the past 2 years. The excuse could be made that we have had two kids that take up lots of time. But the truth is that I just have not scheduled or prioritized my fitness. I could find time if I just looked and made it a priority. Overall I am in a good place and can happily enjoy doing everything physically that I want to.

6. How will you hold yourself accountable?

This blog. If I write it down here, where people can read it, I feel obligated to follow through. Plus I have organized a fitness challenge for me, my wife and our friends. More on that later.

7. What kind of criticism have you received lately?

Toward the end of the hockey season (you know when my son was born) I received criticism about looking tired on the ice (I also got that comment in the office some days). And truth is, I was tired. Part of it was because of getting up in the night to help out with the new baby, but part of it was a lack of stamina. I feel like that directly relates to the decline in the amount of running or cardio in general I was doing. My fitness focus had been in the weight room and less on cardio. Gains in strength are great but not if you don't have the stamina to keep up. And you don't have to have one without the other. I failed to prioritize both.

8. What are you willing to do to change?

a. Diet. Pay attention to how I feel after I eat. Maybe even keep a journal of things that don't agree with me. I have also started to juice again. This allows me to get a larger amount of fruits and vegetables easily. The other thing I am willing to change with my diet is to cut out beer. Let's not be crazy here, I don't mean completely. So, I guess I should say cut down on beer...a limit of 2 beers at a time (one for each hand, right? Yeah double fisting).

b. Running. Lay out goals each month. Prioritize my running into my schedule. Evaluate my results at the end of each month. Sign up for races this year. I have yet to determine how many or how long (likely just 5K races), but I feel that will motivate me to keep up my training.

9. What are you physically unable to do (comfortably) that you'd like to be able to do (comfortably)?

Nothing. I take that back, I would like to be able to swim, using technical strokes comfortably. I just don't have the breathing part down very well. Getting a little instruction and time to practice could greatly improve this; however I am not sure this will be a big priority this year. What would be a priority is improving my hockey skills and becoming more comfortable on the ice.

10. What, or who, stands in your way?

Scarcity of time and money. One thing I have always wanted to try was CrossFit, however it is not cheap to join a 'Box' and I have other commitments in the evenings, most importantly my family. If I didn't have to work all day and have infinite resources I could spend my time at a CrossFit Box, learning proper breathing technique from a swimming coach or get instruction on improving my slap shot, puck handling, skating stride...really anything hockey related. Being that I didn't get cast as the new Batman (damn you Ben Affleck), my funds (and time) are limited. One thing really lies in my way, proper scheduling and prioritization(see a theme here?). That means less television watching in the evenings (damn you NCIS, Biggest Loser, Once Upon a Time, Rehab Addict and all live sporting events for being so captivating).

11. If you could do anything with your life, and money were no object, what would you do?

This is the question that if answered honestly will tell you what profession/job you should pursue. If you love your job you will never work a day in your life. The answer, honest answer, would be I would play video games by day and ice hockey by night. Now, seriously, if I could do anything, without monetary restrictions I would be a high school basketball and baseball coach. Being able to help mold young lives on and off the field (or court) just seems like it would be extremely rewarding.

Well, there are some things to think about for the upcoming year. Looks like I need to prioritize and schedule better and pay attention to what I eat. Again, not a shocking revelation.

THE Challenge

Reading Better With Veggies back in November led to accepting the #MoveHappy Challenge she was hosting on If you don't know about Challenge Loop it's a social media based site (with phone app) where you can challenge your friends or the public to fitness goals.

My friends and I are not in the physical condition we were when we all met back in college (huge understatement). We all came together over New Year's Eve and decided it was time to try to get in better shape. THE Challenge was born. There are 10 of us that will compete for two titles 1) Weight Loss Champion and 2) Mile Champion. Weight Loss Champion we be given to the person who loses the greatest percentage of weight and Mile Champion will be given to the person who logs the most mileage.

While there is monetary motivation I think everyone is motivated by the opportunity to talk some smack to each other and become a little healthier. The hope is that the competition will keep everyone motivated and accountable for following through with New Year's Resolutions.

One Last Thing...

While the Buckeyes had a good season they ended with two losses in the biggest games of the season, the Big Ten Championship (to Michigan State) and the Orange Bowl (to Clemson). While it was a sad end to the season they were very entertaining to watch all season long and next season has the potential to be even better. That said, it is now basketball season and our beloved Buckeyes have started off with 15 straight victories and a #3 ranking. Can they make the Final Four this year? It will be fun to watch and see. GO BUCKS!

Categories: blog of the day link, fitness, fitness goals, motivation, running | Tags: Mark's Daily Apple, New Years Resolution, running, THE Challenge

My Name is Tom T.

Hi, I'm Tom T. Here you will get a little fitness, a few recipes and a healthy dose of competition. I work a corporate job, have a family and love to compete in adult rec league hockey. This blog keeps me honest as I strive to be healthy.